The Unexpected Champion – Mary Connealy – High Sierra Sweethearts #3 – Bethany House – Published 5 March 2019
City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons’ supposedly lost grandson. But now that he’s out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She’s not like any woman he’s ever met–comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun.
When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have, both realize they’ve stumbled into something dangerous and complicated. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape.
When they emerge back into the real world, they are confronted with a kidnapper who just won’t stop. They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other.
The Unexpected Champion is the third book in the High Sierra Sweethearts series and it concludes this trilogy with fast-paced action, mystery, kidnapping, wilderness survival, sleuthing, disguises and -of course- romance.
Penny Scott knows how to take care of herself, knows how to survive in the wilderness, shoot, hunt, and track. So when John McCall, so called detective, comes claiming he is to take away her nephew, Penny knows she will do whatever it takes to stand up to him. Things get a little complicated when one of the men who has long been hunting and threatening Penny’s family is killed and in the process of taking him to the sheriff, Penny and John find themselves kidnapped. Penny will have to help John survive in the harsh terrain of the West, but he might have some tricks he can share with Penny when it comes to tracking down the men responsible and finding evidence of their guilt.
The Unexpected Champion is one big parcel of a whole lot of fun. This third book really stepped up the action, but also brought in some fantastic elements, like John’s work as a Pinkerton agent and his use of subterfuge and disguises. Penny is the perfect offsider for John, a great shot, always with tricks up her sleeve for keeping them alive and easily able to keep up with him. I loved how her outgoing nature really coloured this story, bringing in a layer of fun and high spirits. The romance takes a wild turn (also hilarious) but I loved that despite how Penny and John are forced together they still take the time to get to know each other before their feelings get too involved.
I have enjoyed this series about life in the harsh wilderness of the west and how a family, forged through the bonds of survival and love rather than blood, band together to bring about justice. A mix of action, mystery, adventure, romance will please any romantic historical lover.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction
Genre: Christian – historical.
Themes: Mystery, detectives, marriage, romance, family, money, justice, disguises, survival.
Advisory: Violence – shooting, injury, death. Vague sexual references within a marriage context.
Published: 5 March 2019 by Bethany House Publishers.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 320 pages.